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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Logan, Utah » Pollinating Insect-Biology, Management, Systematics Research » Research » Research Project #444545

Research Project: Promoting Resilient Forest Bee Communities through Fuel Management

Location: Pollinating Insect-Biology, Management, Systematics Research

Project Number: 2080-21000-019-067-I
Project Type: Interagency Reimbursable Agreement

Start Date: Jun 1, 2023
End Date: Dec 30, 2027

The 2014 Presidential Memo on pollinators directs Federal departments and agencies to evaluate and use their resources, facilities, and land management responsibilities to expand knowledge of pollinator health and to increase habitat quality and availability including assessments of the status of native pollinators, including the Monarch butterfly and bees, and modeling of native pollinator populations and habitats. In January 2022, the USDA Forest Service began a 10-year strategy to mitigate the negative impacts of wildfire on communities and improve the resilience of national forests. Fuel management strategies include prescribed burns and thinning. We want to measure how the native bee communities respond to these fuel management programs. These data can then be integrated into the Forest Service fire management recommendations to improve the outcomes for native bees alongside reducing the negative impacts of wildfires. These actions will build on existing Federal mandates for multiuse lands by emphasizing pollinator needs in managing for resilient plant communities.

The ARS Pollinating Insect- Biology, Management, Systematics Research unit will work with the USFS Region 4 Pollinator Coordinator as well as Forest Managers to select survey locations in the Priority Landscapes. We will aim to survey locations with three treatments: (1) past treatment: recent fuel management treatment (in the past few years), (2) upcoming treatment: areas where fuel management treatments are scheduled in the next two years, and (3) control areas: where fuel management treatments are not planned in the near future (4+ years out). These three treatment areas will be location matched to be at similar elevations, regions, and forest age/communities. The number of replicates (matched treatment sites) will then be dependent on access and suitability, but will be optimized to provide statistical power. We will conduct bee surveys at sites throughout the peak bee activity period (May-September, dependent on elevation). Host plants that we capture bees from will also be documented. To capture changes in the bee community over time, as is expected with plant community succession following management treatments, we will repeat surveys at the same locations for at least 3 years, with additional years added provided sufficient funding availability. The ARS Pollinating Insect Unit will coordinate activities with the host unit to ensure forest specific rules are followed. Some areas are closed to collection including RNAs and wilderness units. Scientific protocols will be developed and/or adopted or modified from existing protocols in conjunction with the Forest Service Region 4 staff and used for custody, identification, analysis and final storage of collections of insects.